What is aperitivo? ask the uninitiated. The answer is, take Happy Hour, remove the Bacchanalian excess, add fresh Italian ingredients and spread the concept through all of Northern Italy, with friends and coworkers enjoying a cocktail after work and before dinner. The price of one cocktail allows you full access to a buffet that can vary from chips, olives and bruschetta to a miniature meal. The concept is actually something fairly recently developed in Italian terms and experienced a surge in popularity when the number of women entering the workforce began its steady upward rise.
It offers Italians a time to relax and have a little nibble while waiting for the traditional dinner time of 9:00. For the tourist, it offers a great way to tide over hunger while waiting for local restaurants to open, which normally is not until at least 7:00. Aperitivo also gives someone who is inexperienced in Italian food a great opportunity to try a large array of different appetizer and side dish type foods without actually committing to ordering a whole dish.
KITSCH (1 and 2)
Kitsch is an outstanding destination for aperitivo, so popular they opened a second location on the other side of Florence. Now, as long as you are in the northern part of the city center, you are within 15 minutes walking distance from Kitsch. The dÃ©cor is exactly as you would imagine with having such a name. These are places made for relaxed fun and good food. The list of specialty cocktails is astounding and the juices are squeezed fresh in season, with a strawberry frappe that makes any margarita or daiquiri an instant dessert.
This is the place to see and be seen after work be the beautiful people of Florence. The prices on cocktails for aperitivo average 12-14 Euro and rather than elbowing your way through a crowded buffet line your cocktail server or bartender will replenish your plate throughout the evening with artfully created and delicious hors d'oeuvres. The secluded location, tucked within the Lungarno Suites hotel, combined with an ample patio for the summer and proximity to the absolute center of the city make it a perfect way to end a day and begin an evening.
The name is a bit of a play on words, and it is both divine and overflowing with wine. The selection of wines here is extensive compared to most, the cocktails here should be passed up for wine that any of the owners or bartenders are more than happy to talk about, the cocktail servers in general have a more limited knowledge. The food for aperitivo has theme nights at the beginning of the week and is solidly Tuscan Thursdays through Saturdays. The pasta dishes and rice dishes on these nights are not to be missed. Rotating art displays complement the atmosphere and are unusually good, which makes sitting back with a big, proper piece of stemware for sipping on that Super Tuscan all that much more pleasurable.
The name belies the location, but is fitting for the dÃ©cor. Situated on the northern side of the River Arno with full sun exposure, the mood is anything but black. With fairly ample seating indoors for those that arrive early, a limited number of outdoor tables and table for dozens comprised of the wall along the river, this is one busy location. The food is typically Tuscan all week and is refreshed continuously throughout the evening. Cocktails over wine is definitely the right choice to make here and the crowd is lively, animated and young.
In the heart of the city center, only five minutes walking from the Uffizi or the Duomo, lies Slowly. Which aptly describes the manner in which the food is prepared, slowly and seemingly with great love. The advantage of being open for lunch as well shows in the food, the sauces that are slow simmered and meats that have been braised for hours reward the post work Florentines that patronize this oh so near all things shopping location.